The Saints died on Good Friday – but they can still rise again

Pat Hornidge Roar Rookie

By Pat Hornidge, Pat Hornidge is a Roar Rookie

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    It’s never wise to write a review of a game immediately after the final siren, especially one as poor as St Kilda’s was on Friday. The idea is that the anger and disappointment will disappear and some more coherent thoughts will come to mind.

    Unfortunately, the performance on Friday was so pathetic that time has not softened my views.

    It’s been called one of the worst losses in St Kilda’s history, or at least since the darkest days of Tim Watson’s tenure as coach, and the background noise that has always been there, questioning Alan Richardson’s position, has been pushed to the fore.

    The unfortunate thing about Good Friday is that it answered the questions about St Kilda that the preseason did not seem to answer. The Saints will not just be inconsistent this season, they might be outright horrible.

    There is really no excuse for the lack of basic skills being displayed by professional footballers, especially when not under pressure. To constantly miss marks, ten-metre kicks, handballs and other simple skills is a gift to any opposition. The forward line looks ineffectual, despite the obvious talent.

    The midfield is slow and lacks outside talent, and the defence is suffering from this failure, which is further exaggerated when Jake Carlisle is thrown forward to fix the hole in the forward line.

    The ruck situation though is the most glaring problem. Billy Longer can get taps, but is absolutely invisible in every other situation, and Tom Hickey can be fine around the ground but gets soundly beaten in ruck contests.

    It’s said that the ruck is of less importance in the modern game, but the best rucks in the league can change the course of a match. As it is, St Kilda is effectively playing with 17 men on the field each week.

    The current gameplan is clearly not working and a radical overhaul is needed. Why not try something from the past? Why not give Paddy McCartin the forward 50, a ‘Paddy’s Paddock’ situation? This gives the midfield an obvious target to aim for, something they seem to be lacking at the moment, or an open forward line to run into, something they seem to thrive on.

    While this doesn’t solve every problem that St Kilda will face for the rest of this season, most notably the ruck situation, it does at least offer some kind of solution to the problems that they have so far faced, and plays to the few strengths that the Saints possess.

    Looking back in history though, back to 1997 (another era entirely), St Kilda found themselves in an even worse situation than they are in now. They had yet to win a game after two rounds, losing to Hawthorn (who would eventually finish second last) and getting annihilated by Brisbane (in their first season as the Lions).

    By Round 5, they were sitting at 1-4, with losses to both Fremantle (in their very first season) and Sydney. Of course, in that season, the Saints recovered to finish top of the ladder in one of the closest seasons on record. So there’s still a faint hope that history can repeat itself.

    It’s not yet season over for the Saints, and even a loss against Adelaide won’t end it, but something does need to change – urgently.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • April 4th 2018 @ 10:32am
      Mattyb said | April 4th 2018 @ 10:32am | ! Report

      I really can’t see a place for St.Kilda in a national competition unfortunatly.

      • April 4th 2018 @ 10:46am
        Kangajets said | April 4th 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

        Tassie saints

        Relocation time

      • April 4th 2018 @ 11:03am
        me too said | April 4th 2018 @ 11:03am | ! Report

        History doesn’t have to be viewed in terms of success or failure, but also in survival against the odds.
        The Saints are a foundation club. Far older than most clubs in the world. They have endured far worse and will continue. They are back at Moorabbin and are and always have been the club of south-east Melbourne. Theirs a reason clubs like South relocated, and the Hawks got within a whisker of merging. They failed to compete in our homeland. Meanwhile the Saints continue.

        • April 4th 2018 @ 12:08pm
          Mattyb said | April 4th 2018 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

          I don’t see what being a foundation member of the VFL has to do with the AFL.
          Let’s see how the move back to Moorabbin goes with Hawthorn down the road in Dingley.

    • Roar Guru

      April 4th 2018 @ 10:37am
      Paul D said | April 4th 2018 @ 10:37am | ! Report

      Not sure I’ll ever get over Longer being drafted with pick 8 by the Lions. Right up there with the most baffling draft selections I’ve ever seen.

      Personally I don’t see St Kilda’s problems as being skill based or tactics based – they’re squarely between the ears. This is a side that has run Geelong ragged in recent years, stuck it to the Hawks – they showed the last few years when they’re on they can be as hard and as fast as anyone, but they just can’t bring it consistently. I am not sure why they are so up and down, but they’re never going to make any progress until they can get a consistent floor to their performances each week

    • April 4th 2018 @ 10:51am
      Peter the Scribe said | April 4th 2018 @ 10:51am | ! Report

      We do see premature obituaries and fanciful flag predictions a lot in the first few rounds don’t we? Think back to Hawthorn and Sydney the start of last year and maybe hold off on these grand claims after 2 rounds.
      Already we have some calling the Dogs and Saints seasons over, Buckley is about to be sacked two rounds into a 2 year contract, Hawthorn are apparently going to win the flag, it’s two rounds people, perhaps calm the **** down.

    • Roar Rookie

      April 4th 2018 @ 11:47am
      WCE said | April 4th 2018 @ 11:47am | ! Report

      Every clubs on the list has copped a flogging at times and have down turns , it doesn’t mean you throw the club under a bus. Before round 1 quite a few so called “experts” had written GC off before the first bounce with very unflattering comments yet they have 2 wins on the board , albeit against bottom sides of last year. Remember when your down the only way is up so don’t laugh to loud about the saints when it could be your club they have there first win against.

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